"Trust" by Hernan Diaz explores wealth, power, and personal revelations in early twentieth-century Wall Street.
Divided into four parts, with the last serving as a resolution addendum, the narrative begins with "Bonds" by Harold Vanner, a biography of a wealthy financier Benjamin Rask. Reminiscent of "Citizen Kane," Rask is a fictional character, but everyone knows who it really is. Diaz's ability to convey a compelling story without relying on dialogue is interesting, and the prose used to depict character thoughts and interactions is amazing. It's no surprise that the novel earned a Pulitzer Prize, a fact reinforced by its mention in the heading on every other page.
The second part, "My Life," by Andrew Bevel, shifts the narrative from third to first person, presenting an unfinished manuscript that gradually reveals Bevel as the protagonist of Vanner's "Bonds." The self-serving nature of Bevel's account adds intrigue, and the differences in his portrayal of his wife, Mildred, compared to Vanner's "Helen," raise thought-provoking questions that linger throughout the book.
Part three, "A Memoir, Remembered," by Ida Partenza, offers a more conventional novel with dialogue and a deeper exploration of Bevel's character through the eyes of the working-class New Yorker. The theme of "trust" takes on a more personal meaning for Ida in her relationship with people close to her.
The last segment, "Futures," is a journal kept by Mildred Bevel during her stay in a Swiss sanatorium. Initially appearing dull, Diaz cleverly conceals a surprising twist amidst the seemingly mundane details. Skim, if you must, but pause when this gem is revealed.
While the novel delves into the intricacies of high finance in the early twentieth century, it may require patience from readers less interested in this subject until Ida Partenza's narrative picks up the pace in the third part.
For those intrigued by the world of finance and appreciative of elegant prose, "Trust" offers a rewarding read. The unexpected twist at the end serves as a bonus, cementing the novel as a finely crafted literary work.